There are three significant hydrocarbon basins in Cameroon: in the northwest is the offshore Rio del Rey Basin on the Niger Delta; in the southwest is the offshore Douala / Kribi-Campo Basin, and in the north of the country is the Logone Birni Basin. The latest licensing round will be concentrating on the Douala / Kribi-Campo basin and the Logone-Birni Basin.
Douala / Kribi-Campo Basin
The Douala / Kribi-Campo Basin comprises part of the greater West African Margin Basin System and is the northernmost of series of genetically related basins that stretch from Walvis Ridge to Cameroon. The main source rock sequence in the Douala Basin is Lower Cretaceous in age. Turbidites and deep sea fan deposits comprise the Upper and Lower Cretaceous reservoir sequences, although in the latter fluvial and alluvial reservoirs have also been encountered. Shallow water deltaic Tertiary deposits are also potential reservoirs, in the shallow water areas of the basin.
The Logone-Birni Basin comprises part of the West and Central African Rift systems. The main source rocks are the oil prone lacustrine deposits in the Lower Cretaceous Aptian-Albian rift fill. The Tertiary, Upper and Lower Cretaceous all have good potential for porous clastic reservoirs. This is based on information from neighbouring Doba, Termit and Doseo basins which contain predominantly coarse clastic sediments. The Lower Cretaceous is likely to have fluvial, lacustrine and deltaic sands, while the Upper Cretaceous is likely to have fluvial, marginal marine, lacustrine and shallow marine sandstones and the Tertiary, fluvial sands.
Oil Exploration and Production
As a result of its maturing oil fields, crude oil production in Cameroon has fallen in recent years to 67,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2003, down from 84,800 bbl/d in 2000. Production is expected to fall to 50,000-60,000 bbl/d by 2005. If no major oil fields are discovered, current major oil fields will be depleted by 2010.
Exploration began in Cameroon in the 1950’s, concentrated in the Douala Basin. Until 1965, Elf Aquitaine was the sole concessionaire. Later Mobil, Royal Dutch / Shell and Total also began to explore. With discoveries in Nigeria’s Niger Delta area in the late 1960’s, focus shifted from the Douala Basin to the Rio del Rey Basin , where in the 1970’s a number of discoveries were made: Asoma, Bavo, Betika, Ekoundou, Kole, Kombo and Makoko. Production from the Rio del Rey Basin reached the peak of its production with 158,000 bpd but then started to decrease which then meant that exploration focus returned to the Douala Basin in the 1980’s. This resulted in discoveries of condensate and gas: Batanga, Benda, M’Via and N’Koudou.
In the 1990’s field development and production began in the Kribi-Campo area with the Ebome field coming on line in 1996. In 1998, Pecten, a Shell subsidiary, received the first loan of a $250 million line of credit from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) a subsidiary of the World Bank to develop oil fields in the Rio Del Rey basin.
Renewed interest in oil investment has led to exploration in all three of Cameroon ’s major petroleum basins. Cameroon has committed to privatization of its state oil company, the National Hydrocarbons Company (SNH). SNH engages in exploration and production in conjunction with several Western oil companies. In December 2002, Tullow Oil and Addax Petroleum Cameroon, Ltd. signed a contract with SNH for exploration in the Ngosso area of the Rio del Rey Basin.
In April 2005 Shell and Total E&P; Cameroun were awarded a new Production Sharing Contract in the offshore area of Rio del Rey by the Cameroonian Government. Total will operate the contract, in which the two companies have equal shares. The contract area adjoins other concessions operated by Total in Cameroon and covers 143 square kilometers.
In May 2005 EurOil Limited signed a drilling contract with GlobalSantaFe International Drilling Corporation (‘GlobalSantaFe’) to continue its offshore drilling campaign in Cameroon. EurOil has a 100% interest in the Etinde Permit, which comprises three contiguous blocks offshore Cameroon, subject to government participation, which is still to be negotiated. The agreement covers the drilling of two firm wells in the Etinde Permit. Provisional well locations have been identified, but these will be refined following the final interpretation of the new 3D seismic data acquired over the area.
Energy Africa Ltd
Energy Africa owns a 40% stake in the Ngosso Area. Addax operates the concession with a 60% interest.
ExxonMobil has interests in several producing oilfields in offshore Cameroon.
Through its subsidiary Perenco Cameroon S.A., Perenco has interests in several producing oilfields in Cameroon.
Shell International Ltd
Through its subsidiary Pecten Cameroon Ltd, Shell has several interests in producing oilfields in Cameroon.
Societé National des Hydrocarbures
SNH is the state controlled oil producer and exploration company.
Through it subsidiary, Elf Serepca, TotalFinaElf have interests in several producing oilfields in Cameroon.